Grandma Went to Taiwan

Written by M. Larson

life_grandmataiwan“Myriam Faust, are you out of your mind?” asked a well-meaning friend. “A woman your age just doesn’t pack up and go off to Taiwan! What about your three children and your grandchildren? You’re at an age where you should have the pleasure of visiting and seeing them, not traipsing off to an island halfway around the world!”

“All I know is that it’s God’s will for me,” the recent widow answered.

“But who will go with you? Surely you won’t make that long trip by yourself to a place where a strange language is spoken!”

“The Lord will go with me,” Myriam answered, “and I’m sure He’ll help me with any problem that arises.”

Preparation

Myriam Faust already knew what it meant to lean hard on the Lord. Recently her beloved husband of 40 years had suffered a heart attack and died. She had cried to the Lord and He had comforted her. Then one day as she prayed, she felt He was telling her, “Do not weep for yourself, but weep for the millions who have never heard of me.”

“Lord, lay the burden on the hearts of many young people to go,” she prayed. “Call my children and grandchildren to be missionaries for You.”

But God’s answer came back, “YOU go, Myriam Faust!”

Shortly after her husband’s death, Myriam had received a letter asking if she would come and serve as housemother for little boys at a school for missionary children in Taiwan. After praying for several days, she knew this was indeed God’s will.

By faith, Myriam started to dispose of and pack possessions she and Elroy had accumulated over 31 years. It was hard and she wept over their treasures. But she looked forward with anticipation for what the Lord had planned for her. Paying her own transportation and support, Myriam was soon on her way to Taiwan. Although complications arose on her arrival there, the Lord took care of them all.

Myriam had worked with children for a number of years in the States, reaching them for Christ through child evangelism clubs. Now, she decided, she would have a part in training the missionary children who had been entrusted to her care. She gave them scriptures to memorize and told them many stories using her flannelgraph board. The children loved her and called her “Mom.”

Myriam’s mission field

All around she saw multitudes of Chinese children and daily, the burden to reach them for Christ great heavier. But how could she bridge the language barrier? God had a way.

A missionary who was returning to the States sold to Myriam her pedicab (a three-wheel vehicle on which a man sits in front and pedals while his passenger sits in the back.) So Myriam needed a driver. And that’s how she became acquainted with Boya Yang. Boya was the son of the mayor of Taichung, the city of 200,000 in which the missionary children’s school was located. Just out of high school, he wanted a job, so he became Myriam’s driver – and translator. Now she could go out and with Boya’s help tell her flannelgraph stories to the Chinese children.

Boya learns evangelism

Boya was a Christian but he wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the idea. However, Myriam’s persuasive powers prevailed. When they went out into the villages surrounding Taichung, crowds of children and even adults would gather around to hear the stories. Myriam would give the invitation to receive Christ and sometimes adults would do so; but no children responded. Finally Myriam discovered what was wrong. Boya didn’t believe children could be saved, so he wasn’t including them in the invitation.

“Boya,” Myriam said, “I came to know the Lord Jesus as my Savior when I was only six. Cannot these Chinese children also come to Christ?”

After Boya agreed to enlarge the invitation, many children indicated they wanted to receive the Lord. Before long Boya became enthusiastic about soul-winning too. He would bring his clarinet and go like a Pied Piper through the village. The children and some of their parents would follow him to the place where Myriam had set up her flannelboard. Then they would start their meeting.

When Boya was called into military service, he held meetings for children in Taipei, where he was stationed, as well as helping Myriam whenever he could get to Taichung. He was asked to teach his commanding officer English and he led him to Christ while doing so.

“The Lord gave me two lovely Christian college girls to help me continue my outreach while Boya was in service,” says Myriam. “But Boya worked with me as much as possible during the seven years I was in Taiwan.

Reaching unreached people

Myriam and Boya visited villages all over Taiwan. Once they went to a village that could be reached only by water. On the boat they made friends with a young Chinese man who was going to the same village to study.

“The boat doesn’t return until tomorrow,” he said. “I will find you a place to stay.”

When the boat docked, three of the young man’s friends were there to meet him. The four agreed to pass out tracts and invitations for the meeting that Myriam and Boya planned to hold. Almost the whole town turned out to hear the message.

“There has never been a missionary here before,” explained the elderly Japanese man in whose home they stayed.

Many came to know Christ that day, including the four young men who had given out the invitations. The Japanese host also expressed great interest in the gospel and Myriam promised to send him a Japanese Bible. Myriam also used other means to reach people for Christ.

“After I put my missionary children to bed each Saturday night,” she relates, “I held a Bible class for university and high school students, soldiers and others who wanted to learn to speak and read English better. For our study tests I used bilingual Chinese-English Bibles which the Gideons had given me and a Bible storybook. Many of those in my classes also came to Christ even though I still couldn’t speak Chinese!”

After Boya’s father died (his mother had died earlier), Myriam adopted him and brought him to America with her so that they could study to become more effective workers with children and others. They not only took courses in child evangelism, but earned their bachelor and master of arts degrees. Myriam was 72 when she received the latter.

Boya was ordained before he and Myriam returned to his native land as missionaries. Since then they have established several churches, besides reaching many for Christ.

When she was preparing to go to Taiwan originally, Myriam Faust wrote,

“If only one child catches a vision of a lost world and gives His life as a witness to those who have never heard, it will be worth everything!”

And if you could speak to Boya and see the sparkle in his eyes when he talks about winning souls to Christ, you would know that Myriam’s dream came true in him and many others as well.

Would you like to have a relationship with Jesus like Myriam has? God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love. If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Amen.

3 Responses to “Grandma Went to Taiwan”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Melody, I am sorry to say that I can’t help you find Boya Yang or Myriam Faust. The author of this article passed away late 2010 and I am not sure of her source for this story. I hope you are able to reconnect some day.

  • Freed says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring story; what a wonderful woman of faith; thank you!!

  • Melody Gottlieb says:

    I am looking for Boya Yang who was adopted by Myriam Faust. I worked with and lived next to them in 1972 and 1973. My last name was Martini at that time. I would love to know how Boya is and would love to make contact . Can you help me find him? Thank you for your assistance.

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